Each year is the same and each year is also different. Although these are the only claret cup blossoms I’ve seen this year, I saw lots of buds yesterday. And every single claret cup cactus I saw — including this one — was growing out of rock. Although I saw many claret cup cactuses last spring as well, I don’t believe any were growing out of rock.
I just love these little flowers, which grow wild in two very specific places I know of, both on the east side of the Sandias between about 6,000 and 8,000 feet. They almost always bloom right around Passover and Easter and this year, despite a very late spring, was no exception — I saw the first blossoms just a few days ago.
Happy Easter/Passover/Spring and/or whatever else you celebrate.
Despite a rather dry winter and a fairly chilly spring, New Mexico’s state butterfly — the Sandia hairstreak (Callophrys mcfarlandi) — has been quite visible in the Sandia foothills during recent weeks. This one is browsing on some three-leaf sumac flower buds which are just starting to open.
And just like that, summer became fall last week. That I saw this blast of color at El Malpais is, well, surprising — most of the landscapes I’ve seen there are either bland or downright scary; almost never colorful.
Sunflowers and coneflowers fill a meadow in the Sandia mountains.